Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Morning after a Storm.... So Poetry Configures Its Comparisons

I time-stamped the second I read about what I thought would be the next big media shitstorm - I though, think how happy the suits at Fox and CNN will be - because, regardless of any facts released since or in the future, everyone (including you, me) would hysterically and luxuriously default to his or her current moral/political zeitgeist's interpretation reflexively, in my case the arch self-congratulatory and self-deprecating self-rebuking of a recent apostate.

As of seven this morning, it's buried on the Post's front webpage, doesn't appear at all on the NYT's front webpage, and none of the mouth-breathers at the Corner have started woofing, so maybe I'm wrong about everyone but me. On the other hand, I was going to write more about Maryland's uniform in general and my willfully incoherent aesthetic of uniforms in lengthy particular (plus more Harkin v Obama nonsense), so lucky you, consider yourself spared. Look! I did it again!

Julianna Barwick & Ikue Mori - Rejoinder from RVNG Intl. on Vimeo.


Albert Goldbarth

The drizzle-slicked cobblestone alleys 
of some city; 
                      and the brickwork back 
of the lumbering Galapagos tortoise 
they'd set me astride, at the "petting zoo"....

The taste of our squabble still in my mouth 
the next day; 
                      and the brackish puddles sectioning 
the street one morning after a storm....

So poetry configures its comparisons. 

My wife and I have been arguing; now 
I'm telling her a childhood reminiscence, 
stroking her back, her naked back that was 
the particles in the heart of a star and will be 
again, and is hers, and is like nothing 
else, and is like the components of everything.

Julianna Barwick & Ikue Mori - Dream Sequence from RVNG Intl. on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Corporate's Biggest All-Consuming Media Shitstorm Ever! (Since the Last Until the Next) Starts


There Is No Fence, though Here and There a Weathered Post Asserts a Former Claim, Strands of Fallen Wire Taken by the Dust

Moo thinks her name is Rose, Woof thinks his Stanley. Rose comes when I say Rose and doesn't when I say Moo, Stanley comes running to Stanley, ignores me when I shout Woof, and OK, they've voted (and Earthgirl and Planet have voted) and I'm a democracy whenever I can be (which is whenever it's in my interest, just like you). Rose is more Rose than Moo anyway, Stanley Stanley. They are wonderful, happy, Rose sweet, Stanley the funniest, most fearless cat ever. Chirpers both, but best of all, bless Fleabus, she's trying, still the best cat ever.

Speaking of Stanley I left my copy of Gaddis' The Recognitions on my desk at work on Friday, and since The Recognitions is only available as an audio book on kindle, Saturday morning I started Elkin's George Mills (which is downloadable to kindle), and here's the title character summing up the book's main theme:

     "Don't be cowardly (said Guillalume). You're still my father's subject, you know. Mine, too, for that matter."
     "I'm everybody's subject," Mills groaned. "I have more law than a company of solicitors."
     It was true. If before he had felt slandered by their notion of him - the tapestry condition - now he knew himself crushed and circumscribed by the jurisdictional one: state, sultanate, realm, duchy, palatinate, empire, dominion, kingdom, and bog - all suzerainty's pie slice say-so.

I was self-imposing sillyass ethical rules on my reading and writing long before shitty bleggalethics. For thirty years I forbade myself reading two novels simultaneously, which really sucked if the novel I was reading sucked because I felt morally compelled to finish any novel I started if I read the first twenty pages; it didn't matter how shitty the remaining four hundred pages turned out. We're not only ruled from above and below but within. You'll get Gaddis or Elkin or nothing, and I'll like it.


Campbell McGrath

On the map it is precise and rectilinear as a chessboard, though driving past you would hardly notice it, this boundary line or ragged margin, a shallow swale that cups a simple trickle of water, less rill than rivulet, more gully than dell, a tangled ditch grown up throughout with a fearsome assortment of wildflowers and bracken. There is no fence, though here and there a weathered post asserts a former claim, strands of fallen wire taken by the dust. To the left a cornfield carries into the distance, dips and rises to the blue sky, a rolling plain of green and healthy plants aligned in close order, row upon row upon row. To the right, a field of wheat, a field of hay, young grasses breaking the soil, filling their allotted land with the rich, slow-waving spectacle of their grain. As for the farmers, they are, for the most part, indistinguishable: here the tractor is red, there yellow; here a pair of dirty hands, there a pair of dirty hands. They are cultivators of the soil. They grow crops by pattern, by acre, by foresight, by habit. What corn is to one, wheat is to the other, and though to some eyes the similarities outweigh the differences it would be as unthinkable for the second to commence planting corn as for the first to switch over to wheat. What happens in the gully between them is no concern of theirs, they say, so long as the plough stays out, the weeds stay in the ditch where they belong, though anyone would notice the wind-sewn cornstalks poking up their shaggy ears like young lovers run off into the bushes, and the kinship of these wild grasses with those the farmer cultivates is too obvious to mention, sage and dun-colored stalks hanging their noble heads, hoarding exotic burrs and seeds, and yet it is neither corn nor wheat that truly flourishes there, nor some jackalopian hybrid of the two. What grows in that place is possessed of a beauty all its own, ramshackle and unexpected, even in winter, when the wind hangs icicles from the skeletons of briars and small tracks cross the snow in search of forgotten grain; in the spring the little trickle of water swells to welcome frogs and minnows, a muskrat, a family of turtles, nesting doves in the verdant grass; in summer it is a thoroughfare for raccoons and opossums, field mice, swallows and black birds, migrating egrets, a passing fox; in autumn the geese avoid its abundance, seeking out windrows of toppled stalks, fatter grain more quickly discerned, more easily digested. Of those that travel the local road, few pay that fertile hollow any mind, even those with an eye for what blossoms, vetch and timothy, early forsythia, the fatted calf in the fallow field, the rabbit running for cover, the hawk's descent from the lightning-struck tree. You've passed this way yourself many times, and can tell me, if you would, do the formal fields end where the valley begins, or does everything that surrounds us emerge from its embrace?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Can't Swim; Uses Credit Cards and Pills to Combat Intolerable Feelings of Inadequacy; Won't Admit His Dread of Boredom

Queen has never been in the rotation for one of the three remaining spots in my top five sillyass desert island game, but so intricately are they bound with certain memories, most of them good, some of them excellent, a few of them cherished, that the 65th anniversary of Freddie Mercury's birth demands I breach my sillyass self-imposed holiday weekend hiatus.

If it was 2005 and George Bush just dumped a turd on the Friday before Labor Day weekend like Obama just dumped a turd last Friday, I wouldn't have been surprised or particularly livid, I'd have thought him a cynical puny fuck (and said, If only Kerry had won in 2004, then some of you long-timers here would have said, If only Gore hadn't been cheated out of Florida). I have evolved.

That's the cause of the mini-semi-imposed fraudulent hiatus, nothing real life, nothing in Stringtown, it's that tomorrow is the official kick-off of POTUS 12, and while it may not be shittier than POTUS 16 it will be shittier than POTUS 08, and Matt Stoller is suggesting that Tom Harkin run against Obama in Iowa like that's gonna happen, like Matt Stoller hasn't realized that we're ruled by motherfucking Ferengi and if there was legitimate profit in a resurgent Democratic Party as Stoller imagines it, Obama wouldn't have such an easy time in killing the Democratic Party as Stoller imagines it once was.

It's rewriting that sentence tomorrow and the day after that caused the mini-semi-imposed fraudulent hiatus. I shouldn't enjoy playing that doh this much still daily, and who the fuck uses sillyass Star Trek allusions anyway?


David Lehman

Can't swim; uses credit cards and pills to combat intolerable feelings of inadequacy;
Won't admit his dread of boredom, chief impulse behind numerous marital infidelities;
Looks fat in jeans, mouths clichés with confidence, breaks mother's plates in fights;
Buys when the market is too high, and panics during the inevitable descent;
Still, Pop can always tell the subtle difference between Pepsi and Coke,
Has defined the darkness of red at dawn, memorized the splash of poppies along
Deserted railway tracks, and opposed the war in Vietnam months before the
Years before the politicians and press; give him a minute with a road map
And he will solve the mystery of bloodshot eyes; transport him to mountaintop
And watch him calculate the heaviness and height of the local heavens;
Needs no prompting to give money to his kids; speaks French fluently, and tourist
Sings Schubert in the shower; plays pinball in Paris; knows the new maid steals,
     and forgives her.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Semi-Lust of Intentional Indifference

If the electric grid collapses I don't know how to fix it. I'd curse my disconnectivity. If I knew how to live unplugged - and I don't know how to live unplugged, though I could learn if I had to - I don't want to live unplugged, and if you're reading this, neither do you. I talk about my financial obligation for my daughter ending in four years as if I'd be able to un-Corporate this or that, but what, we're gonna buy acres in rural western Pennsylvania where I'll install a disc golf course and Earthgirl will raise alpacas and we'll eat local organic vegan and only spend two hours online a day instead of six?

My best contribution to make the world .06% less-shitty would be to be quieter, and selfishly that less-shittiness would only benefit me and mine. Each of our best contributions would be to be what me and mine and you and yours think it's impossible for each of us to be. So at least for the rest of the weekend, I'll try.


Robert Creeley

All night the sound had   
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,   
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,   
even the hardness,   
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,   
something not so insistent—
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,   
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,   
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.


Friday, September 2, 2011

A Rainbow Coalition of Coition Ejaculates a Colorblind Wine Jelly of Jism and Every Radical Ism

He did it to make Republicans look petty, said L. If that's true, I said, even if I agree with the strategy (and I thought it an excellent strategy back when I rooted for this team), he made himself look smaller and pettier. I mean, did Corporate secretly transfer all competent PR professionals out of the White House? You think he'll lose now, said D. It's true, said K, you still harbored the thought he played multi-dimensional chess. I thought he was a gameplayer, I said, I thought he'd  be more progressive than he is, and that's on me, but I was convinced he was a good enough gameplayer to win whatever ism he pursued, and the irony is, if his ism is a fanatical fetishization of a wussy mythical middle in a time when competent PR professions can jolt us out of cozy with a chryon in a beep, the motherfucker's succeeded.


Frederick Seidel

I’m not on your side, whichever side you’re on.
My enthusiasm for Nasser is long gone.
Hail, Hosni Mubarak, and farewell!
There’s the old dictator dolt
On TV, a contraption of dyed hair and hair gel.
Angels in revolt
Fill Tahrir Square. The angel Gabriel blows his horn
To announce to the reborn, You’ve been born!
And Koranically commands, Recite!
Here are the things that are right!
Day after day of secular celebration turns into night.
Not too many people are killed.
People are thrilled.

I’m your fat King Farouk,
Quacking poetry till I puke.
I’m president and premier and sultan and emir –
Prime minister and Sadat –
And oh my God he’s been shot!
I do nothing but think about you, dear.
I think about you a lot.
I revere
The crypto-philo-Semite, Anwar Sadat,
And what he did, and in consequence the death he got.
The third president of Egypt agreed to put up with Israel.
He slithered through the Arabs like an eel.
It did not go down well.

The West oinked for oil and said please.
The Western nations hung out backstage like groupies.
They barked to be fed, like a seal.
They stole anything they could steal.
Anwar Sadat screwed the light bulb of love into the socket
Out loud in the dark in the middle of the night.
Floaters swim by in my eye in the light.
Darling, don’t doubt me, don’t knock it.
I fold a linen handkerchief to make three points
To fountain whitely towards you from my breast pocket.
Point 1. My cornea detaches.
Point 2. I have galloping myopia.
Point 3. My cataracts won’t let me look at you.

It’s lenticular astigmatism.
It’s macular degeneration.
A rainbow coalition of coition ejaculates
A colourblind wine jelly of jism
And every radical ism.
White Europeans conceived these wretched Arab states,
Now fictively becoming democrats.
The breeze blows the blue of the sea
Inland from Tripoli.
Meet me in Tahrir Square.
Righty-o, I’ll meet you there.
Your Nile-green eyes gaze up at me from the pillow.
Baby, you’re my crocodile Nile. You’re my Cairo.

Tahrir Square is twirling like a dervish, spinning like a top.
In Tahrir Square tear gas canisters pop.
My crocodile angel joins the demonstrators outside her shop.
The tornado funnels into focus from a censored blur.
The military clears a path for her.
Democracy is in the vicinity
Of Nefertiti.
We’ll meet in Tahrir Square.
Every angel has gathered there,
Including my own angel, wings of Isis flapping.
Bandages are unwrapping
The royal mummy, who’s been napping, but opens her charms.
My Egypt angel wraps me in her arms.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Heavy, Wet, Guttural Small-Plane Engine Fights for Air, and Goes Down in Humid Darkness about Where the Airport Should Be

This is how stupid Obama thinks I am, this is what he thinks will make me angry:

President Obama requested a joint session of Congress at 8 p.m. next Wednesday to lay out new jobs proposals aimed at boosting the economy, setting up a direct confrontation with Republican presidential candidates who are scheduled to debate the same night in California.

Hours later, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) instead urged the president to move his speech to the following night, Sept. 8, citing the need for the House to conduct a “security sweep” in its first day back in session...

...The White House “talked to Boehner’s office and raised the date and time and there was no objection raised by them,” a White House official said on condition of anonymity.

Boehner’s aides rejected that scenario. “No one in the Speaker’s office - not the Speaker, not any staff - signed off on the date the White House announced today,” said Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman. “Unfortunately we weren’t even asked if that date worked for the House. Shortly before it arrived this morning, we were simply informed that a letter was coming. It’s unfortunate the White House ignored decades - if not centuries - of the protocol of working out a mutually agreeable date and time before making any public announcement.”

Nyah! They think I'm thirteen. It will work on many thirteen-year-olds.

Here's what I wrote in the first draft this post, then thought I'd delete it then thought use it as a bit:

Can you imagine what any of us will be writing about in a year that we're not writing about now? America will be one more year more Serbia, but will we notice that year's dramatic more shittiness or are we being poisoned, administered and self-administered, to offset, by .06%, the symptoms of shitty poison? There's a reason I keep thinking about mithridatism (via Gaddis):

Gaddis, Fuck Yeah! I can't say Serbianization! Fuck Yeah! and mean it (I'm in hock to my ass w/my complicity, yo, and besides, my fat white middle-aged ass is motherfucking comfortable, though, ta-da! I'll never vote for a Democrat again, nyah!), but I wish I could enjoy America's daily incremental and irreversible suck .06% more than my self-incolating whining suggests I am.


Marvin Bell

The heavy, wet, guttural
small-plane engine
fights for air, and goes down in humid darkness   
about where the airport should be.
I take a lot for granted,
not pleased to be living under the phlegm-
soaked, gaseous, foggy and irradiated
heavens whose angels wear collars in propjets   
and live elsewhere in Clean Zones,
but figuring the air is full of sorrows.

I don’t blame
the quick use of the entire earth
on the boozy
come down to get a dose of cobalt
for his cancer. He’s got
a little life left, if
he doesn’t have to take all day to reach it.   
With the black patches
inside him, and
the scars and the streaks and the sick stomach,

his life is more and more like
that of the lowliest child chimney sweep   
in the mind of the great insensible,   
William Blake. William Blake,
the repeated one, Blake, half mad,
half remembered,
who knew his anatomy, down to
the little-observed muscle in the shoulder   
that lifts the wing.

The little London chimney sweeper
reaches up and reaches down.
In his back,
every vertebra is separated from the long
hours of stretching.
With one deep, tired breath,
the lungs go black.

By the Holiday Company crane,   
adding a level to the hospital,
on the highest land in the county,   
heavy sits the pure-white Air Care   
helicopter, with
its bulging eye.
It has kept many going, a good buy,   

Now someone I know says Blake   
in anger,
angry for his brother in the factory   
and his sister on the ward,
but tonight I have no more anger   
than the muscle
that lifts my knee when I walk.

Another pleads with the ocean
that the words for
suffering and trouble
take place in a sound that will be all sounds   
and in the tidal roll
of all our lives and every event,
but I am silent by water,

and am less to such power   
than a failed lung.

And I think it is only a clever trick to know   
that one thing may be contained
in another. Hence,
Blake in the sweep, one in the ground   
in one in the air,
myself in the clinic for runaway cells,   
now and later.